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Group begins $1.2m transparency project in Niger Delta region

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA- A non governmental organisation, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) said it has initiated a transparency and accountability project in five states in the Niger Delta.

The project, worth about $1.2m and launched in Edo State last week is aimed at creating transparency and accountability among governments and civil society groups in the Niger Delta region towards ensuring better governance and providing dividends of democracy to the citizens.

Speaking in interview with our correspondent, on Friday, the Executive Director, ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor said the project, which would last for three years, was titled Strengthening Revenue Management in Niger Delta, adding that it will focus on five states-Edo, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Cross Rivers .

He explained that the project also aims at strengthening the stakeholders to embrace good governance in the region which will contribute to peace and development and create enabling environment for physical development of the region.

According to him, ““The aim is to ensure transparency and accountability and strengthen good governance system within the region as part of contributing to peace and development which will and create enabling environment for physical development.””

Out of the $1.2m, Ugolor explained that the Norwegian government through its Embassy in Nigeria had committed to 50 per cent of the project cost for the next three years while a donor agency from Germany , EED had also committed to 25 per cent of the project cost.

He said, ““We will be working with government, civil society and other key stakeholders, building their capacity to deliver in developmental project. We did the launching of the inception which was hosted by the Edo State Government two weeks ago.

“This will kick start a series of workshops across these five in states, targeting key revenue management thematic areas.””

Ugolor further explained that ANEEJ began to relate with the Norwegian and Switzerland embassies in Nigeria during the campaign to repatriate Abacha loot back to Nigeria .

He said, “When we started the campaign, ANEEJ was hosting the Nigerian network on stolen assets. That was the first time we had a tri-lateral cooperation which existed between civil society, Nigerian government and the World Bank to monitor the Abacha loot that was returned to Nigeria .

“After that successful cooperation, they supported us in doing a study on the Niger Delta, looking into the issue of transparency and the possibility of stepping down Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative principles at the level of the Niger Delta region to respond to the governance challenges in the region.”
He explained that this was funded by the governments of Switzerland and the United Kingdom .


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